Runner has something to build on

Mercury News

Los Gatos junior Chad Blanchard had an impressive performance at Saturday's 85th CIF state track-and-field meet in Norwalk.

Blanchard, who finished third at the Central Coast Section meet May 30, finished fourth in his qualifying heat and ninth overall, grabbing the last spot in the finals with a time of 1:54.86 Friday.

In front of a crowd of 11,627 watching Saturday's finals, Blanchard ran a personal best time of 1:54.12 to finish seventh, one spot from a medal.

``In the qualifying race Chad got boxed in with about 200 yards to go,'' said Los Gatos Coach Thomas Newman, who took sixth for the Wildcats in the 800-meter race at the 1996 state meet. ``But in the finals it opened up for him, and I was impressed with how he ran his race.

``Chad has little experience competing in big races like this and he has brought his time down from 2:04 to 1:54. He is fearless out there. It will be really interesting to see what he can do next season with a year of training behind him.''

 Los Gatos pole vaulter Sally Stanton finished tied for 10th in the pole vault, clearing a height of 11 feet, 4 inches in Friday's qualifying round. The Wildcat junior needed a vault of 11-8 to reach Saturday's finals.

WESTMONT: Robert Jennings ended his high school career with a 15th place finish in the discus at the state meet. Jennings, who just took up the sport last year, was seeded third after throwing 183-09 for a second-place finish at the CCS finals. He threw 162-06 in qualifying and missed a shot at the finals.

ARCHBISHOP MITTY: Hurdler Michael Boulton finished eighth in his qualifying heat for the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.30 and did not reach the state meet finals.